Transcendent Coincidences for Existence
by Ron Bechet
Beau Rivage Casino Gallery of African American Art
November 17, 2018 – January 26, 2019

About the Artist:
Ron Bechet, is a native of New Orleans and lives in the city of his birth. He studied art at the University of New Orleans where he earned a B.A. degree, and went on to earn an MFA degree from Yale University. Since then he has exhibited his work nationally and internationally. He is known for intimate drawings and paintings inspired by the land and circumstances of Southern Louisiana, knotted and matted and within African Diaspora tradition of tress connecting earth and sky, the realms of the ancestors and the living. They tell a personal and communal metaphoric story of cultural hybridity. He is currently the Victor H. Labat Professor of Art at Xavier University of Louisiana and has been teaching for over twenty years.

About the Exhibit:
The visual culture of the African Diaspora is woven into the intricately executed works of Ron Bechet. Tangled vines, roots, the bases of large trees, and the decomposition of the forest floor are the subject of these layered scenes of tangled imagery. Here, we are gifted with the physical proximity of life and death – How they share the same organic space – how they sleep together as equals. The flora of South Louisiana’s natural landscape is cleaved open to expose the roots. These roots and the bases of trees are a significant symbol both in West Africa and throughout the Diaspora. In many West African belief systems, shrines are constructed at the base of large trees. Trees are translated as a symbol of the crossroads, connecting the elements of earth and sky as well as the realms of the ancestors and the living. This tradition is continued in the African Diaspora and is articulately and poignantly rendered in Bechet’s works.  Lodged in the midst of this knotted and matted landscape are the meanderings of the displaced, the alienated, and the magical. These exposed roots act like lifelines, umbilical cords –ways to connect back to the miraculous source. They tell a personal and communal story of cultural hybridity, spiritual self-discovery and ancestral resonance. If you look closely, bodies emerge from the interwoven plant life. It is a Diaspora body, skin folded back to reveal its elegant and resilient backbone.

– Dr. Sarah A. Clunis

Echoes of Ohr
IP Casino Resort & Spa Exhibitions Gallery
October 19 – December 24, 2018

Echoes of Ohr, OOMA’s 2018 juried art show, celebrates the creative spirit and artistic legacy of George Ohr.  Featuring dozens of works in a variety of media, Echoes of Ohr showcases the current state of the ceramic arts both on the Gulf Coast and beyond.

About the juror:
Allen Chen, juror Born in Taiwan, Allen Chen moved to California at the age of twelve. He earned his BFA from San Jose State University and his MFA from the University of Notre Dame. He has served as a long-term artist-in-residence at the Mendocino Art Center, Red Lodge Clay Center, and the Lawrence Arts Center. Allen was an assistant professor at Central State University from 2012-2014, and he is currently an assistant professor at the University of Southern Mississippi.

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